Are you struggling to be profitable as a real estate agent? Maybe you should hire a coach

First, understand how coaches differ from trainers, mentors and consultants

Have you hit a plateau you can’t seem to break? Are you struggling with how to be more profitable in your business? Are you facing burnout and thinking about leaving the business? If so, now may be the right time to hire a coach.

Back in 1996, I was working full time as a professor of psychology and also running the training program for the 4,000-agent Jon Douglas Co. The president of the company wanted to find a way to deliver training to our 60 offices in California, and, “Oh, by the way, there’s no budget.”

Business coach image via Shutterstock.
Business coach image via Shutterstock.

He suggested that I check out the teleclass model (training by phone) that they were using at a company called “Coach University.” Little did I realize that I would meet my future husband on a Coach U training class or how coaching would change my life.

Coaching differed from psychology in that it was about helping functional people to have better businesses and more satisfying personal lives as opposed to treating dysfunction.

I was so excited about coaching that I completed the Coach University training program, did the 2,500 hours of client coaching, and met the other requirements to become a master certified coach.

Mentoring, training, coaching and consulting

Fast forward to 2014 where everyone seems to be a coach. Unfortunately, very few agents understand the difference between mentoring, training, coaching and consulting. In fact, over 90 percent of the real estate professionals we attract at RealEstateCoach.com come to us for training, even though many of them initially ask for coaching. In case you’re wondering what the difference is, here is a brief synopsis:

When clients are browbeaten into doing what the coach wants them to do, their actions are not sustainable. Ultimately, not only does the agent lose, so does the coach."

1. Mentoring
Mentoring is widespread in real estate. A classic example is an experienced agent who “mentors” new agents. The new agent follows the mentor and learns from how their mentor conducts their business. Most mentors lack formal educational training on the mentoring and/or coaching process.

2. Training
In the training model, the trainer tells you what to do and how to do it. Common real estate training topics include business planning, overcoming objections, prospecting strategies, etc.

If you purchased “coaching” at a seminar, in most cases you are normally buying one-on-one or group training on how to use the speakers’ training systems. There’s nothing wrong with this approach because training works. It’s just not usually coaching.

3. Coaching vs. consulting
A master certified coach does not need to have real estate experience to successfully coach a real estate professional. The reason is that in the coaching model, the assumption is that you already know what to do. Coaching is about removing the blocks that keep you from doing what you need to do. If you expect your coach to figure out how to solve a transaction problem, what you’re really looking for is consulting or managerial help.

How to make the right “coaching” choice for you and your business

How can you determine the right choice for you and your business? If you attend a training seminar and buy a “coaching program,” their “coaches” help you implement their training. Many of these models rely on what is known as “accountability coaching.”

Accountability “coaching”

Unfortunately, much of what passes for so-called “accountability coaching” is the client calling up and being browbeaten by the “coach” into taking action. This is not coaching, and the results are seldom sustainable. If the coach you hire does nothing more than yell at you when you don’t make your numbers, find someone else.

“Fix it” coaching

When you have a problem, does your coach tell you how to “fix it”? If so, your coach is probably a trainer or a consultant. In the professional coaching community, “fix it” coaching is considered to be the mark of a poorly trained or inexperienced coach. Here’s why:

If your coach tells you what to do, this creates a parent-child relationship, not a coaching relationship. The challenge with “fix it” coaching is no one likes being told what to do. When clients are browbeaten into doing what the coach wants them to do, their actions are not sustainable. Ultimately, not only does the agent lose, so does the coach. Again, if you want someone to tell you how or what to do, hire a trainer.

How to recognize the right coach for you

If you know what to do and how to do it but are encountering roadblocks in your business, coaching may very well be right for you. Here are some tips to help you recognize when you have found the right coach for you.

1. To a professional coach, your success is more important than gaining another client. If the coach doesn’t support you to find the coach that is the best fit for you, that “coach” is more worried about his pocketbook than he is about you.

2. Does your coach have professional coach training and/or a designation from an International Coach Federation-accredited school?

3. Is your coach able to address the personal blocks that are hindering your performance?

4. When you first interviewed the coach, did he or she take the time to really understand what is holding you back as well as what is working?

5. Did the coach make any effort to uncover your strengths and to build on those strengths rather than just focusing on your numbers?

6. At the end of your coaching call, did the coach ask you about the action steps you will be taking? Did the coach also ask you to let him or her know when you have taken those steps?

7. The real test: Did you feel energized and ready to take on the world after your coaching call?

The more of these questions that you can answer “yes” to, the more likely you will be to have found the right coach for you.

Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles and two best-selling real estate books. Discover why leading Realtor associations and companies have chosen Bernice’s new and experienced real estate sales training for their agents at www.RealEstateCoach.com/AgentTraining and www.RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.


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